North Carolinians across the state are using broadband to improve their education, their businesses and their lives. This video series will highlight some of the examples of broadband building better communities.

Montgomery County is a large, predominantly rural county, and many students have bus routes longer than 120 minutes each way.

The state designated Montgomery County a “low wealth” county, with 21.8% of families living below the federal poverty level, and many students don’t have access to devices or high-speed internet at home.

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Montgomery County Schools an Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund grant. With funding from the grant and additional support from partners,Curriculum Associates, Golden LEAF Foundation and Dream Builders Communications, the school system launched a new initiative, “A Culture Creating Effective Systems for Success” (ACCESS).  Montgomery County Schools started a one device per student (1:1) program and outfitted eight buses with WiFi hotspots.

Administrators have seen a decrease in bad behavior/need for discipline as well as academic improvements, higher test scores and a greater efficiency in finishing homework.

We visited West Middle School to speak with Beth Lancaster, director of ACCESS and Chris Jonassen, assistant principal.